NC Politics in the News

March 28, 2023

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Economic Development

WUNC: $2B of NIH funding drives North Carolina research economy
North Carolina researchers were awarded more than $2 billion in National Institutes of Health research grants last year. That’s lower than each of the previous two years, but still well ahead of amounts earlier in the decade. More than half of this total, or $1.26 billion, went to just two universities: Duke University and UNC-Chapel Hill. Other academic research universities also took in millions, as did nonprofit groups like RTI International, based in Research Triangle Park.


THE CAROLINA JOURNAL: Major expansion of school choice introduced in NC House
Lawmakers have introduced a bill in the North Carolina House that would create a universal Education Savings Account to allow parents to pay directly for approved non-public educational expenses for their children. House Bill 420, Expand and Consolidate K-12 Scholarships, would significantly expand the school choice landscape in the Tar Heel State. The bill, sponsored by Rep. Donnie Loftis, R-Gaston, would eventually phase out and replace the Opportunity Scholarship Program with an ESA valued at 100% of the state’s per pupil allotment for public school students. For 2022, that amount was $7,426.

THE CAROLINA JOURNAL: Bill requiring US Constitution class for NC college students passes House
On Wednesday, the North Carolina House passed a bill requiring students at state universities to take a three-credit hour course on the U.S. Constitution and other founding documents by a vote of 69-47. House Bill 96 (H.B. 96) passed the state House, with all Republicans and two Democrats voting in favor of the bill. The two Democrats in support were Shelly Willingham, D-Edgecombe, and Rep. Joe John, D-Wake.


FOX CAROLINA: NC governor demands repayment following company’s decision to close Canton mill
North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper sent a letter to Pactiv Evergreen Thursday urging them to reconsider their decision to close their mill in Canton and demanding that they repay the $12 million they received in grants from the state. In the letter, Cooper urged Pactive Evergreen to explore all options to keep the mill operating, whether through selling it, repurposing it, or reconsidering their decision to shut down the operation.

THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC House budget bill coming out in days. What being early means for raises and more
The first draft of a North Carolina state budget will be out next week, House Speaker Tim Moore told reporters on Wednesday. Having a budget proposal in March, even in just one legislative chamber, is a big deal because the budget battle often drags on for several months while state employees and teachers wait to find out if, and when, they get raises. The March timeline signals that the new budget and any raises could be in place by the time the current fiscal year ends on June 30.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: ‘We’re ready to make history.’ After 10 years, NC legislature approves Medicaid expansion
The North Carolina General Assembly approved Medicaid expansion Thursday and sent the legislation to Gov. Roy Cooper, who is expected to sign it. The House voted 87 to 24 in favor of House Bill 76, “Access to Health Care Options,” which would extend federally subsidized health care to thousands of North Carolinians. Members of the House applauded the bill’s passage and rose in a standing ovation, prompting House Speaker Tim Moore to call for order.


THE NEWS & OBSERVER: NC Gov. Cooper vetoes pistol permit repeal, setting up an override showdown with GOP
Gov. Roy Cooper vetoed gun rights legislation Friday that would repeal the state’s permit requirement for buying handguns, which Republicans argue is outdated and an unnecessary infringement on Second Amendment rights, but which most Democrats vehemently oppose ending. The bill Cooper blocked passed the GOP-controlled legislature as a package of gun rights measures. In addition to the permit repeal, Senate Bill 41 would also allow people to carry concealed handguns to places of worship that also serve as schools, or have attached schools, in order to help worshipers protect themselves during religious services that take place outside of school operating hours.

CBS17: North Carolina Treasurer Folwell makes it official: He is running for governor
A Republican with ties to Greensboro has entered the race for governor, although it may not be the name you were expecting to hear. Even as two other GOP politicians from the Triad consider trying to gain the nomination to replace Gov. Roy Cooper in 2024, State Treasurer Dale Folwell, who last year said he was “mulling” a run, made it official on Saturday.


SPECTRUM NEWS: NCDOT gets grant to create a push notification system for travel conditions
A project to keep drivers better informed of road conditions is in the works thanks to a new federal grant that is expanding how roadway information is shared on apps. The North Carolina Department of Transportation received a $1.5 million grant that aims to make driving safer by alerting travelers to slow down, stop, or change lanes while moving through work zones, according to Andrew Barksdale with NCDOT.